Every Saturday, we take some of your questions for a weekly Lions mailbag. To ask a question for a future mailbag, use the hashtag #LionsMailbag on Twitter, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ask away on Facebook or Instagram.
Now, on to this week’s questions.
Based on the Lions Draft, do you think Kerryon Johnson has the best chance to be this years Kareem Hunt? Last year all we talked about was Hunt from Toledo being a good fit, Lions passed on him, and KC got the benefits. Johnson definitely has good vision though. #LionsMailbag— Raymond Nuznoff (@rayray1222) May 3, 2018
I don’t know if you can make that kind of comparison. Where there was some buzz that Johnson could be a good fit for the Lions before the draft, it is nowhere near the attention-slash-match that Hunt and the Chiefs seemed to have last year. Johnson is a good player. There are concerns about his durability due to injuries in college – something general manager Bob Quinn doesn’t seem too concerned with – but when he’s healthy he’s a dynamic runner. Comparing him to Hunt is a stretch because rookie years like Hunt’s don’t come around all that often. There also are questions about Detroit’s offensive line, and the Lions are still going to be more of a passing attack. So to make that comparison for any back is a hard thing to do. But does Johnson have a chance to be successful and is he likely to get opportunities to do that? Yes, he should.
@mikerothstein With all the talk about ignoring the D-line in the draft and free agency, do we have any idea where @KerryhyderJR stands with his progress back? Every column talks about Ansah and Zettel but no one mentions Hyder. #LionsMailBag— Brent Tobiczyk (@tobicheckers) May 3, 2018
Brent, at this point Kerry Hyder is definitely a question mark – and probably will be until we see him on the field either during OTAs or training camp. If Hyder is healthy, he’ll definitely be a piece the Lions can add to try and create a pass rush because he showed during 2016 that he is a talented player. But Achilles injuries – especially tears – are brutal. And it’s tough to say how much explosiveness Hyder retained or lost until you see it on the field and in a game. From watching Hyder’s game in the past, some of what helped him pre-injury was his first step. If his explosiveness is altered then that could be a problem. I think he hasn’t been mentioned because he’s more of a question mark than either Ezekiel Ansah’s combination of immense talent and questionable health and whether or not Anthony Zettel can build on his breakout year. It’s likely we’ll get a better idea on Hyder later this month.
A little rephrase on the original question.— Kris Schilling (@kris_lions) May 1, 2018
I am really wondering if their isn't going to be a shift in how the Lions is the run game. Could there possibly be some surprises in who they move on from? #LionsMailbag
It would not shock me, based on whom the Lions have signed and drafted, if there’s a different type of run game established this season. At least one that relies more on power and backs who can really push. LeGarrette Blount is that. Kerryon Johnson’s running style would suggest that. Now what does that mean for the other backs on the roster? I don’t know how much that is going to end up altering the decision-making there. Theo Riddick is who he is – a pass-catching back who has never shown to be a consistent running threat. Ameer Abdullah has all-around talent, but needs to finally show it. Zach Zenner is an interesting case. He could easily fit the mold of a No. 4/5 back – can play special teams, is a good pass protector, disciplined and has shown flashes of being able to run. Tion Green and Dwayne Washington have had their moments, but at this point both would seem to be on the outside.
Theory w Lions draft: Coach Patricia and NE coaching staff in general have always been keen at analyzing opponents weakness. Obviously, Lions run game (Oline & backs) biggest weakness/need to fix so O not 1 dimensional. Coach P through NE style teaching feels he can improve ...— RRTommyBoy (@RRTommyBoy) May 1, 2018
... and tweak Lions current D personnel. Thus, Quinn and Coach P focused on running game targets with strategy of improved D coaching will help lead to improved D performance/result. Thoughts? #LionsMailbag— RRTommyBoy (@RRTommyBoy) May 1, 2018
RRTommy, that could certainly be part of it, although I would be more inclined to buy Quinn’s explanation after the draft – that the defensive playmakers Detroit might have been interested in weren’t there and there were better opportunities to improve the offense. The Lions had to do something with both sides of the ball and considering only Taven Bryan – a player I liked a lot – went in the front four the rest of the first round while two offensive linemen went in the three picks after Detroit spoke about that depth a bit. Rashaan Evans might have been an intriguing pick at No. 20, too, but considering how the Lions drafted, selecting Frank Ragnow made sense.
Patricia is confident in his abilities. I don’t think there’s any question in that. And Quinn is confident in Patricia. Personally – and based on what Quinn said in January – I felt the defense needed more pieces than the offense. But based on the types of players that were going and available in slots in the first three rounds, there’s only one quibble that I could see – and that’s with the Lions passing on Stanford’s Harrison Phillips in favor of safety Tracy Walker. But the Lions really seemed jazzed about the Walker pick, so it’ll be something to watch how it plays out.